Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 Presidential Campaign News

At the center of attention in the 2012 Presidential race is the Republican nomination. After a tight 3 way race in Iowa between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, Romney is the clear front-runner in New Hampshire. However, a poll released today shows a drop for Romney to 35%, only 15% ahead of Ron Paul. Ron Paul positioned himself well in the NH debates, drawing a clear distinction between himself and 3rd place Santorum and 4th place Newt Gingrich.

Gary Johnson left the race for the Republican nomination, saying,
Frankly, I have been deeply disappointed by the treatment I received in the Republican nomination process. Other candidates with no national name identification like Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman were allowed to participate in the debates.
Incredibly candidates with no executive experience like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum were allowed to participate while I, a successful two-term governor with a solid record of job creation, was arbitrarily excluded by elitist media organizations in New York. My appeals to the Republican National Chairman for basic fairness were ignored.
Johnson's switch is to the benefit of "small L" libertarians everywhere. It provided the Libertarian Party with a high profile candidate, while it united libertarian Republicans behind one candidate, Ron Paul, who jumped into the top tier at about the same time that Johnson dropped out of the race. The Republican Liberty Caucus endorsed Ron Paul only 2 days after Johnson's departure.

Other prospective candidates for the Libertarian Party's nomination include RJ Harris, a 3-tour Army National Guard combat veteran who ran for Congress in 2010 with Rand Paul's endorsement. Carl Person is an attorney and was a candidate for Attorney General in New York. Air Force veteran Lee Wrights is another war veteran, anti-war candidate, running with the slogan, "Stop all war." He recently wrote a criticism of the Fair Tax, proposing that we eliminate the federal income tax and replace it with nothing (one of the top principles of Ron Paul's 2008 campaign).

Jill Stein announced her candidacy for the Green Party in October. Stein criticizes the Obama stimulus plan for costing $288,055 per job created. She advocates a $666 billion plan to create $17.5 million jobs. She claims that she can create jobs at a net cost of $28,600. Since she advocates infrastructure investments as a significant portion of the jobs plan, how would she supply the necessary materials to support the projects and still spend only $28,600 per laborer? Stein makes an interesting point, citing Rutgers University professor Philip Harvey,
Harvey notes that all these jobs increase tax revenues that defray the costs of the program. Government saves money on unemployment insurance and other safety net programs.
Harvey's work is something we intend to research, as we will probably see it come up again in the campaign.

Green Party activist Kent Mesplay is also running for the party's nomination, announcing:
I run to counter-balance the wrath of the “right” toward immigrants, toward Mexicans, toward Native peoples. I am a life-long advocate of rain-forest dwellers and First Nations folk within our borders. Greens value diversity, justice and representation. I do this from my cross-cultural basis, my upbringing
In late December, the Boston Tea Party nominated Tiffany Briscoe along with VP candidate Kimberly Johnson. Briscoe has a platform that should be well received by libertarians. The Briscoe campaign has unfortunately faced criticism by her former BTP nomination opponent Robert Milnes. Milnes has accused her of lying on her resumé. This was no surprise, considering Milnes' history of aggressive pursuit of a "Progressive Libertarian Alliance" candidacy for President. His PLA plan has not been well received by the Libertarian, Green, or Boston Tea parties in the 2008 or 2012 presidential campaigns. Briscoe finally cleared up the allegation, but I am sure that isn't the last she will hear from Robert Milnes. Another obstacle for Briscoe will be cleaning up her platform. It is overall very well organized, but there are a few conflicts in her tax policy which were brought up by a commenter at Independent Political Report. Taxation is one of the hottest issues in this campaign, so she will need to better define her policies on the flat tax and estate tax. The Spooner Institute would advocate the elimination of both the federal income tax and the estate tax. As a minimum we should bring federal taxation back to the pre-income tax system that we used for over 100 prosperous years.

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